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There's a fresh breeze that's been blowing in the health care industry—and it has nothing to do with the health care reform bill that became the center of political debate earlier this year. With the growing popularity of evidence-based design in the medical field combined with emerging design trends—ranging from personalized care to spa and hospitality influences, from integrated architecture and interiors to more staff-friendly workspaces—the hospitals being created today are a far cry from the institutional nightmares of the past.
A perfect example of this vibrant, new approach to health care design can be found along the shores of New Jersey, where one hospital has set sail for a much healthier future (for its patients and staff alike).
In order to further its mission and respond to the demands of a growing community, the Jersey Shore University Medical Center (JSUMC) was faced with the decision to expand its facilities to include additional inpatient beds, more outpatient services, and improvement in access and circulation within the campus—all critical issues that needed to be considered and addressed through the design of the space.
Named, "Transforming Care: The New Jersey Shore," the hospital's expansion project, designed by WHR Architects, served as a catalyst in rethinking how patient care would be delivered in the future. The master plan resulted in the creation of a long-range diagram that will serve as a blue print for future growth. For example, the innovation of a 12-bed "nursing neighborhood" will help transform the delivery of competent, effective and collaborative patient care.
The design concept is a juxtaposition of three buildings organized around a node. Inspired by university president Steve Littleson's vision of growth, the node—which became a metaphor for transformation—is celebrated in a striking curvilinear form inspired by sailboats from the nearby Jersey shore. As the sail changes and adjusts to move ships to their destination, the project becomes a set of intricate relationships that guide the patient toward a journey of health and well-being.
The "Shore" also exemplifies the elements of nature: a line that separates the water from land (Earth); the experience of sun and wind; and a sense of space (the horizon). These elements inform the design of interior spaces and material palette.
To facilitate healing, JSUMC was committed to providing a healthy and sustainable environment. To reinforce this commitment, the project is being submitted for LEED® (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold certification—a distinction indicating that their new facilities will meet high sustainable building and performance measures.
The new design dramatically expands the hospital's capacity, capability and healing efficacy while creating a strong connection to nature. JSUMC created a community campaign and a refreshed identity, based partially on the new building's design.
This project was also designated a "Pebble Project"—part of a partnership between The Center for Health Design and health care organizations throughout the United States. The goal is to examine and document the effects of evidence-based design on quality of care, and to make "conscientious, explicit, and judicious use of current best evidence from research and practice in making critical decisions about the design of each individual and unique project," according to The Center for Health Design.
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Jersey Shore University Medical Center
1945 New Jersey 33
Neptune City, NJ 07753
PROJECT TEAM /
1713 Main St., Ste. 102
Lake Como, NJ 07719
DiStasio & Van Buren
medical equipment planning
Melillo & Bauer Associates